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Dairy Tips

Useful tips for preparing, cooking and storing various dairy products such as whipped cream, butter, milk and ice cream.

For best results and greater volume when making whipped cream, chill both the mixing bowl and the beaters. The colder the cream the better, too!

Refrigerate milk at 40°F (-4°C) or less as soon as possible after purchase and store in the original container.

Return milk to the refrigerator immediately after pouring out the amount needed. Never return unused milk to the original container.

Keep milk containers closed to prevent the absorption of other flavors. An absorbed flavor changes the taste, but the milk is still safe.

Protect milk from exposure to strong light since light can reduce its riboflavin content and cause off-flavors.

Look for the "sell by" or "pull" dates on milk cartons. If properly cared for, milk generally stays fresh for 2 to 3 days after this date. Some dairy processors guarantee their products for a specific time after this date. Ask your grocer for more details.

Keep canned milks like evaporated and sweetened condensed milks in a cool dry place and invert the cans every 2 months. These milks generally keep for about a year at room temperature. Once opened, canned milks should be poured into an opaque covered container, refrigerated and used within a few days.

Store dry/powdered milk in a cool, dry place and keep in an airtight container after opening. Once reconstituted, dry milk should be refrigerated and handled like other fluid milks.

Freezing of milk is not recommended. It causes undesirable changes in milk's texture and appearance.

Microwaving milk is not recommended to extend milk's shelf life or as a means of pasteurization.

Store butter in the refrigerator for up to six months.

Store butter in the freezer for up to one year.

Butter should be stored away from highly aromatic food products and vegetables and should be kept sealed, in a dry poly-lined carton.

Yogurt, buttermilk and acidophilus milk should be stored in closed containers in the refrigerator at 40°F (-4°C) to maintain their quality. Yogurt will keep for about a week and buttermilk and acidophilus milk will keep for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Freezing is not recommended for any of these cultured dairy foods.

Store ice cream, sherbet and frozen yogurt tightly covered in the freezer at 0°F (-18°C). To avoid crystallization and volume loss, scoop ice cream, keeping the surface as level as possible. Cover the surface of ice cream with plastic wrap before reclosing and return to the freezer immediately.

For ease in serving, soften ice cream by transferring it to the refrigerator 10 to 20 minutes before serving, or by microwaving it on HIGH (100%) in the carton for the following amounts of time:

  • 1 pint = 10 to 15 seconds
  • 1 quart = 15 to 25 seconds
  • 1/2 gallon = 30 to 40 seconds

(Note: Since microwave ovens vary, cooking times may differ.)

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